BookTrust develops targeted programmes to give families access to reading

Children holding up Little Monkey by Marta Altes at Elmhurst primary school in Newham
Above and front page slide: Reception children are thrilled with their Time to Read packs in 2018.
BookTrust Logo
The Mohn Westlake Foundation supports the work of BookTrust, the UK’s largest reading charity, which aims to inspire young children to enjoy books and stories, laying the foundation of their reading and giving them better chances in life, supporting their education, confidence and well-being.

At a glance…

  • BookTrust reaches around 3.9 million families in the UK, and includes programmes tailored to those who require extra support.
  • Bookstart Corner is an intensive programme delivered in partnership with children’s centres that reaches 75,000 families a year.
  • Bookshine, Booktouch and Bookstart Star are additional needs specialist Bookstart packs for children who are blind and partially sighted, deaf, or have conditions that affect their fine motor skills.

“Families are very engaged in the programme. Having Bookstart Corner sessions run in libraries really works for the children’s centre as it introduces the library to families who perhaps didn’t know about the library before, or hadn’t realised about the services that libraries and children’s centres offer.”Project Developer and Assistant Headteacher at participating Children’s Centres

BookTrust runs nationwide programmes with books, resources and support to help develop a love of reading. The charity encourages children to read in lots of different ways, but its priority is to get more children excited about books, rhymes and stories – because if reading is fun, children will want to do it. Much of BookTrust’s focus is on early years because it has discovered that starting early and involving the whole family is the best way to get children reading – and it encourages parents and carers to start reading with their babies right from the beginning. The charity also works with schools to support teachers and school librarians to get children and young people excited about books and reading.

BookTrust wants all families to have access to reading, which is why it also delivers more targeted programmes aimed at helping those who need the charity most – whether that's families facing economic hardship, children in care or children with additional needs. BookTrust wants every child to have the best possible start in life, which is why the charity is so passionate about getting children reading.

“Parents said that the children were very proud of their book and read it over and over. Grandparents are delighted to be able to read dual text to grandchildren. Even today when I had a copy of the book given to the children to read at story time, lots of children spotted it and said "that's my book" or "I've got that one, I like it." We give out books as Christmas presents and end of year but we never get the response that we get from Bookstart. They see it as very special. The top tips for parents is wonderful."Bookstart Dual Language


Above: Author Nadia Shireen and teacher present the Time to Read packs to reception children in 2017.

The Mohn Westlake Foundation is enabling BookTrust to pilot new support for those children who need the most help to get reading, and for the many parents still struggling with reading regularly with their children in the critical early years. BookTrust aims to increase its more targeted activity to reach these families, and in ways that will change behaviour. It is a significant challenge, but there are great long-term rewards for children and for wider society – language development, school readiness, confidence and well-being, and future life chances. Research shows that children who don't have access to books, reading and stories when they are young, start school a year behind their peers, and this gap widens as they go through education. BookTrust’s partnership model and existing networks give the charity the opportunity to turn local success into nationwide activity.

Bookstart Corner
“Being involved in Bookstart Corner has really opened another world for some families. We know some families living in shared housing feel isolated and have limited access to space. Going out to the library for Bookstart Corner opens up opportunities for families to make friends and to learn about other services such as Stay and Play sessions and Nursery Readiness courses."Project Developer and Assistant Headteacher at participating Children’s Centres

For more information about BookTrust and their projects, please visit their website:

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